Has there been a more famously flamboyant frontman than Jake Shears since Freddie Mercury? One of the lead singers of Scissor Sisters (along with Ana "Ana Matronic" Lynch), Shears' (né Jason Sellards) onstage antics and songwriting focusing on explictly gay themes has earned him a reputation as one of the most outrageous performers today.
From songs about coming out to "kiki-ing" with friends, the music of the Scissor Sisters has been largely influenced by gay culture. (In addition to Shears, members Babydaddy and Del Marquis are gay, and Ana Matronic has been immersed in the gay scene for years.) Their album Night Work, for example, was conceived of as a response to the AIDS-epidemic of the 1980s.
"It placed a big judgment call on [the gay club scene]. Suddenly, there was a big, 'Oh, you had it coming,'" he told The Guardian in 2010. I just started wondering where music was headed, where dance music would have headed, where all that would have gone. And Night Work is my hypothesis."
Though Scissor Sisters grew out of the New York City underground scene, they've enjoyed mainstream success, particularly in the United Kingdom. Their debut album spawned five top-20 singles in the U.K. and was the best-selling album of 2004, topping more traditional acts like Keane. They never reached the same level of prominence in the United States, but they have received mainstream attention, including appearance on talk shows (including Live With Regis and Kelly and The Wendy Williams Show).
See some of our favorite clips of Shears and Scissor Sisters, AFTER THE JUMP ...
Shears grew up on San Juan Island, north of Seattle. In the It Gets Better video above, he details the bullying (and lack of support) he received while a teen. While attending college in Los Angeles, he visited Lexington, Kentucky, where he met Scott Hoffman (also known as Babydaddy). The two became fast friends and moved to New York City where they would go on to form Scissor Sisters.
The band’s second single from their debut album (after their breakout cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”) addressed the coming out process. Sex columnist Dan Savage has said the worst advice he ever gave was to a young Jake Shears. He encouraged him to come out to his family, and it did not go over well right away. Shears described the experience to RUComingOut.com: “The reaction was pretty bad and I had very few allies … Coming out can be hard and it’s something I would encourage people to do, however it’s important to really feel like you have a bit of a safety net, just in case.” Watch the video for “Take Your Mama,” above.
Scissor Sisters scored their first UK Number one with “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” in 2006. The song was co-written by Elton John (who also plays piano on the track). That’s far from the only queer and queer-friendly artist Shears has worked with throughout the years. He’s also collaborated on tunes with Cher, Kylie Minogue and Andy Bell.
Last year, Shears performed a cover of College & Electric Youth’s song “A Real Hero” at the GLAAD Media Awards. He added a verse dedicated to his friend Anderson Cooper. You can see a video of the performance above.
The band released its fourth album, Magic Hour, last year. The album includes “Let’s Have A Kiki,” a song that’s gone on to inspire papal parodies, brunch takeovers and, yes, even a Glee performance by Sarah Jessica Parker. We’re particularly fond of the band’s “instuctional video,” above, but that just might be about Shears’ mesh tanktop and football pants.
What’s your favorite Scissor Sisters’ jam?
Fausto Fernos and Marc Felion, the hosts of Feast of Fun, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring their on again/off again web series Cooking with Drag Queens back with a vengeance. Long before RuPaul’s Drag Race, the two podcast hosts made a career out of interviewing and introducing drag queens to their audience.
While Drag Race’s has undoubtedly popularized queen culture for a modern audience, the duo wants to give the public a chance to see the queens they’ve come to love in a less competitive setting. Like any cooking show worth its salt, Cooking With Drag Queens promises to be about personality as much as it is about food. Alaska Thunderf--k, Sharon Needles, and Pandora Boxx are among the drag queens to have appeared on on the web series so far, but Fernos and Felion want to expand their reach to give up and coming queens a chance to make a name for themselves.
Their Kickstarting goal of $12,000 will go towards hiring a full production crew, bringing the queens in town, and giving them all the food to work with. The team is still actively looking for drag testimonials from any and all queens interested in becoming a part of the project.
Check out the Cooking With Drag Queens trailer AFTER THE JUMP...
Mia Henderson, the transgender sister of LA Clippers shooting guard Reggie Bullock, was found dead in Baltimore earlier this week. The exact circumstances surrounding Henderson’s death are unclear, but signs of severe trauma have led the Baltimore City Police Department to understand that “there was a homicide.”
Bullock expressed the grief of having lost his sibling, whom he remembered as his brother Kevin via Twitter not long after news of the homicide broke.
Henderson was last seen with an unidentified man, suspected to be her killer, heading into an alleyway known for prostitution, according to the Baltimore Sun. Henderson’s death is the second to have been classified as a murder in Baltimore this summer since June.
“I have high expectations to resolve these cases.” Said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts in a press conference. “We want to be strong partners within our transgender community, not by talk, but by actions.”
Watch video of the press conference (autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...
Launch Angels, a Boston area venture capital firm, is looking to breathe life into fledgling startups helmed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender founders with its VentureOut Fund. Much of the innovation that comes out of Silicon Valley is a direct result of angel investing, VC funding, and mentorship within startup incubators. Currently in the process of raising $2 Million from some 15-20 investors, VentureOut hopes to connect with 15-20 startups currently in their seed stage.
Affinity funding, the idea of investors partnering together around a central idea or purpose, has been Launch Angels CEO Shereen Shermak’s primary focus in guiding the firm. Currently Launch Angels has focused primarily on mobile and consumer companies, but it’s looking to diversify its portfolio.
“So many more folks are out of the closet in the business world than were even five years ago,” Said Greg Wiles, the managing director of the VentureOut Fund. According to Wiles, funds like VentureOut would have languished in the recent past, considering that the world of venture capitalist is composed of primarily straight, white men.
VentureOut, says Wiles, wants to set its fund apart by reaching out to those founders who might have an amazing idea, but perhaps not as much experience with the startup world. Moreover, the fund sees the potential in tapping into the closely-knit, grassroots-y social networks that are often the driving force behind social causes spearheaded by LGBT organizations.
The new issue of Attitude magazine finds Tom Daley slightly more clothed than usual, opting for jeans rather than a speedo. Still, the superstar diver is burning up the cover. His dashing good looks were not the focus of his interview, though it does happen to coincide with the release of Attitude's Hot 100 List, upon which Daley is sitting pretty at number one.
“I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for me in Attitude’s HOT 100 – it means the world,” said Tom following the announcement at Attitude’s exclusive HOT 100 party in central London.
Though one could admire Daley for his impressive diving technique, or his six-pack, he is also a role model for young LGBT people around the globe.
In his first ever gay press interview, the 20-year-old Olympic diver talks about how he balances his rigorous training schedule with his relationship with American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black – and also discusses coming out in a YouTube video last December.
“If the video helped anyone going through something similar, then that’s great,” Daley says. “I filmed that video because I wanted to tell people in my own words.”
After saying that “everyone should have the right to marry the person they love”, the London 2012 bronze medallist reveals that he sees himself getting married one day. “Family is something that has always been really important to me and yes, at some point I would love to marry and have kids,” he says.
The Colorado Supreme Court halted the issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples in Denver on Friday, though other counties continued on, the Denver Post reports:
The order by Colorado's high court follows an emergency request filed Monday by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (pictured), asking the Supreme Court to order all county clerks to stop issuing gay marriage licenses. The order also imposes a stay preventing the Adams County clerk — which was also named in the case — from issuing such licenses.
The Adams County clerk had not begun issuing the licenses.
Clerks in Boulder and Pueblo, whose clerks are currently issuing same-sex marriage licenses, are not affected by the ruling and said they would continue issuing licenses to gay couples. So far, Boulder has issued 156 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Here is the ruling.